View Full Version : New Provinces of the Pearl Empire

05-11-2014, 03:13 PM
This is an area map I'm using for my current 3.5 D&D adventure. The area is a wilderness of forested hills and mountains that have been occupied by the big bad Pearl Empire in order to acquire a year round warm water port.
Most of the creation was done in Photoshop. The background was exported from Fractured Terrain's and extensively modified in Photoshop. The map markers, compass rose, scrollwork and scale bars I drew in Illustrator. The legend key box is a photoshop texture. Finally, I set the text and added blending modes, filter effects and adjustment layers in Photoshop. I would appreciate any comments on my scribbles from the experts here.

05-12-2014, 11:55 AM
The sea and lake areas look like air/sky rather than water. The dark green land looks like it's nothing but thick forest covering everything, and the town & castle symbols look out of place on top of that greenery. The parchment with the symbol key is pretty nice though.

05-12-2014, 03:57 PM
The attention is 100% driven to the vivid green of the land surface at close range, and as soon as you zoom out, both the letters and the symbols become hard to read (or even to spot).
Did you try a (very) toned down version of that land coloring? I would add a brownish/white plain layer on top of the land and play with the color and opacity of that to maximize readability.

On a positive. I like the land shape and the geographic oddities like the "Hidden Bay".

05-12-2014, 04:54 PM
I agree that the green land texture is a bit overwhelming colorwise, yet zoomed in close it looks like all green mountains or forest - there is no discernable difference in land type. Where is the forests versus the plains, and are there even any mountains (or are they all mountains)? I cannot differentiate any of the land forms. I only see coastline, water and a vast expanse of green. The labels in the land are indeed difficult to read. I would use gold or some other color for your labels, or use a white glow around the text to stand-out from the green mass behind it. Good first try, but I think this map needs some more work.

05-12-2014, 05:53 PM
As the others have said, I would treat what you currently have as a waypoint and not the destination. It's always worth experimenting to see what effects you can get, to take the positives from it and then refine.

05-15-2014, 03:20 PM
I agree that teh colors are a bit to strong for my personal taste.

05-15-2014, 03:47 PM
Thanks for all the expert advice you guys. It's always a good thing to have other folks look at things from a different POV. I tend to get to tied up in detail and over design. That said, this area is meant to be virgin forest on costal hills / mountains with recent settlement along the coast. I will post a new version shortly that will incorporate all your great advice.

05-20-2014, 12:11 AM
Sorry it took so long to post my new version. Real life stuff had to be dealt with. Anyway....... I messed around with the mask layers and added a brown texture overlay to the land area to add a more realistic look to my forested land mass. I also blended over a dark blue masked layer to resolve the sea color issues. As you can see, I eliminated the map icons and the land text. My next move will be to replace them with better looking images and text that looks and feels like it belongs. As always, all comments are most appreciated!

05-20-2014, 02:22 PM
Here is my latest version of my Map. I think that this is very much improved. I do have one question: Can anybody tell me some way to make the text on the land area clearer without using the overused stroke fx or an ugly background box?

05-20-2014, 05:04 PM
I think your problem is too much contrast on the land/forest area thats making the text hard to read. Darkening the yellow and/or lightening the green could possibly help?

05-20-2014, 05:18 PM
I agree with AlexSchacher above. A soften/blur and a reduction of contrast and of saturation on the land layer could accomplish that.